Culinary world pays tribute to Albert Roux

Tributes have been pouring in from the culinary world for chef and restaurateur Albert Roux, who helped introduce the UK to French fine dining, who has died aged 85.

Chef Albert Roux, who helped introduce the UK to French fine dining, has died aged 85

Roux, who had been unwell for a while, died on 4 January. He and his late brother Michel Roux made history when they opened French fine dining restaurant Le Gavroche in London in 1967, which kick started a culinary revolution.

Roux was born on the 8 October 1935 in Semur-en-Brionnais, Saône-et-Loire. After leaving school at 14, he trained as a chef. His godfather was working as a chef for the Duchess of Windsor, and arranged for Roux, aged 18, to be employed by Nancy Astor.

After a short period in the military, where on occasion he’d cook for the officers, Roux worked as a sous chef at the British Embassy in Paris before leaving again for the UK to work as a private chef for Peter Cazlet for over eight years.

Roux with his son Michel Roux JR

This led to the opening of Le Gavroche on Sloane Street, which went on to be the first restaurant in Britain to win a Michelin star, and latterly, three stars.

During his time at Le Gavroche Roux tutored and trained many well known chefs, including Pierre Koffman, Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay.

Leading the tributes was Roux’s son, Michel Roux Jr., who said of his father: “He was a mentor for so many people in the hospitality industry, and a real inspiration to budding chefs, including me.”

Other chefs and food critics on social media have celebrated the life of Albert and his influence on their careers.

“So sad to hear about the passing of this legend, the man who installed gastronomy in Britain,” Gordon Ramsay wrote on Instagram.

“Such a sad start to the year. Albert Roux was a true titan of the food scene in this country and inspired and trained some of the best names in the business.

“Today I will open a bottle of the finest red and raise a glass… in fact the bottle to you and your brother and say thank you for everything. My thoughts to all the Roux family and friends,” James Martin wrote on Twitter.

Jay Rayner echoed these sentiments on the social media site: “Albert Roux was an extraordinary man who left a massive mark on the food story of his adopted country.

“The roll call of chefs who went through the kitchens of Le Gavroche is a significant slab of a part of modern UK restaurant culture,” he said.

Albert won countless awards alongside his brother in their lifetime, including an OBE in 2002, a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cateys in 2005, and Le Gavroche won Best Restaurant of the Year in 1988. The brothers were inducted into the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2016.

2 Responses to “Culinary world pays tribute to Albert Roux”

  1. Ben Howkins says:

    I have two distinct memories of Albert. The first was in 1969 when IDV launched Le Piat de Beaujolais ( forerunner of Le Piat d’Or ) at Le Gavroche in Lower Sloane Street to the waiting UK wine press including Pamela Vandyke Price, Kingsley Amis and Clement Freud amongst others. The Roux Brothers had never before prepared a souffle starter for so many people. We waited and we waited and we waited. Clement was standing on the table telling stories; magnums of Le Piat were being emptied at an alarming rate. An hour and a half later, the souffle, at its third or fourth take, finally arrived. It was, of course, delicious. Perfection was not to be beaten by a mere clock.
    My second memory was the last time I enjoyed a one to one conversation with Albert. A member of the British Cabinet had just resigned because of a having a mistress. Without batting an eyelid, Albert responded that in France, it would be impossible to become a minister unless one had a mistress.
    Albert and Michel were inspirational. They loved life and have endowed the UK with the greatest possible legacy. That of the appreciation of good food and wine, of course.

  2. ALAN MONTAGUE-DENNIS says:

    Albert Roux was at tremendous inspiration to so many , and his legacy continues to this day through his hugely talented son , Chef Michel Jnr and granddaughter Chef Emily . He will be much missed and my thoughts are with Michel and his family .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters